Top 4 NHL Teams To Watch In 2016/17

Top 4 NHL Teams To Watch In 2016/17

A few teams to keep your eye out for

The NHL season is upon us once again. It is the most wonderful time of year and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this season. We saw the Pittsburgh Penguins have an incredible stretch of great hockey last year eventually enabling them to hoist the Stanley Cup. We also saw no Canadian team compete in the playoffs last year. Look for that to change this year as America's top hat has a load of talent on their respective rosters.

1. Calgary Flames

Image Source: Flickr

Calgary is one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NHL. People seem to forget that 2 years ago they won a playoff series and were one of the hottest teams. They had an off year in 2015/16 and did not even get to the postseason. They have one of the best young cores and they just locked up Johnny Gaudreau for 6 more years. Look for them to contend for a playoff spot this year.

2. Edmonton Oilers

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The hockey world was shocked when the Oilers traded away former first rounder Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils. In doing this, they received some veteran leadership and some more size to their team. Connor McDavid was recently named captain, making him the youngest captain in NHL history. They also signed Milan Lucic giving them some scoring depth and physical presence. They may be a year or 2 away, but I expect them to have a turn-around season.

3. Chicago Blackhawks

Image Source: Flickr

The Chicago Blackhawks are going to be a very interesting team to watch this year. They had to get rid of some players in order to not exceed cap space. This means new roles for younger players to play in. It will be interesting to see how these new guys will be able to fit into Coach Q's system.

4. Nashville Predators

Image Source: Flickr

Nashville made a huge splash by swapping Shea Weber for PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. To me, it seems like a very even trade but maybe the Preds know something I don't. They beat the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the playoffs last year and gave the Sharks a run for their money. I expect them to be back in the playoffs this year.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.

I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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